Almac renews its ranges
Following the EMO trade fair and an internal show in La Chaux-de-Fonds in October, Almac's customers have been treated to an updated image with new products featuring some remarkable design and solutions for various industry sectors.
A new beginning
Since the takeover of Almac by the Tornos Group, and the arrival of Mr. Devanthéry, the company has been undergoing a transformation. A new identity has been developed to be consistent with the image of the Tornos Group, hence the inclusion of the colour blue and a square logo, which harmonise better with the Group's brands, and similarly the new machines feature a modern design that adopts the style of the MultiSwiss and SwissNano. As Company Director at Tornos, Mr Philippe Devanthéry explains: 'We have worked hard internally to improve our service and develop new products. We are now ready to market them and we wanted to mark this new beginning'.
Almac has always produced machines that are finely adapted to the needs of the market, but now the company is pushing the limits even further by launching labelled products. Purchasers of the new 'CU 2007 Movement' will discover a standard machine with finely-tuned equipment for machining parts. It's an elegant way to achieve a custom solution for a standard price.
'We imagined all the possibilities for the future and decided to name the new products using a new, consistent logic', reveals Mr. Devanthéry. The machine designed to replace the CU1007 is called the VA1008 (V for vertical) and the new small bar milling machine, the BA1008. Both are in the 1000 series, which features machines designed to produce the smallest parts.
In simple terms, and for connoisseurs of Almac products, the new VA 1008 machining centre consists of a tried and tested CU 1007 base with significant modifications in the following three areas: Design and ergonomics, swarf removal and the number of tools available. At a first glance at the VA 1008 produces the same sense of surprise as with the Tornos MultiSwiss. It is new, stylish and attractive. The machine is almost the same size as the CU1007, but slightly smaller thanks to the integration of the entire filtration system in the enclosure. The single-unit window protecting the machining area can be completely removed to provide access over 90° to a height of 1.8 metres, enabling easier setup and adjustment. A vertical window at the rear provides total access. The entire control panel pivots over 90°, which gives the user a perfect view of the machining area while working on the controls.
Mr. Devanthéry explains: 'The CU 1007 is renowned for its reliability and precision, but also for its functionality, offering fine tuning of swarf removal during major machining operations. Our engineers have modified the frame to create a large free space under the machining area, which provides optimal evacuation'. The tray is accessed from the front via a door with a wide aperture. Watchmakers using the machine will be reassured to know that the VA 1008 can also be equipped with a wooden table.
Always attentive to the market, Almac's specialists noted that existing machining centres were a little limited in terms of the number of tools available for certain machining operations, or simply because customers wanted to make the most of the machining options mounted permanently on the machine. Mr. Devanthéry states: 'This is not a new issue. We decided to address the request from certain customers because we could'. The new VA 1008 comes with a 30-position tool carousel as standard, however the customer can choose other, different configurations with 48, 80 or even 100 tools (HSK25). Mr. Devanthéry explains further: 'Whichever the alternative chosen, the machine's enclosure is the same, enabling us to offer an optional 100-tool magazine with the same machine design.
Different machine configurations are available depending on the machining requirements, whether it is 3, 4, 4 simultaneous axes or 5 simultaneous axes. Workpieces can be loaded and unloaded via handling and palletising systems. The machine can be equipped with a single rotary table and a range of clamping systems or 4- or 5-axis indexing tables from Lehmann. Mr. Devanthéry explains: 'There are numerous specialist companies, especially in the workpiece clamping field'. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, and are offering these proven solutions on the VA 1008'.
New BA1008 – now with milling capability
On first sight, this tiny bar milling machine reveals its close kinship with the Tornos SwissNano, and in no small way. Tornos Director Mr. Hauser confirms: 'We unveiled the SwissNano to lots of customers from the watchmaking industry, and they all confirmed that this machine is a game-changer in terms of the market. The compact size of the SwissNano is an undeniable advantage for watchmakers, and we wanted to make the most of these advantages on a bar milling machine'.
Intended as a replacement for the FB1005 machine in the Almac range, the newcomer has some decisive selling points, in particular its ergonomics, productivity, compact size and value for money. The frame of the BA 1008 bar milling machine is the same as that of the SwissNano. The upper section has been modified to integrate two multi-spindle tool systems, and complete accessibility is guaranteed using the same motorbike helmet opening principle as is employed on the SwissNano.
Bars are fed into the BA1008 in the same way as on the Tornos version designed for turning, however the spindle cannot be used for turning operations. A divider system is used to load workpieces up to a diameter of 16 mm. Positioned machining operations and interpolation between the tool systems and the workpiece are easily possible. Equipped with 4 frontal spindles, 3 lateral spindles and 2 counter operation spindles, the machine has been designed for very precise workpieces. Mr. Devanthéry adds: 'This type of machine can only make an impact on the market if its offers the possibility of finishing parts - and this one does. In watchmaking, we aim to produce dial components, appliques, settings and windows, as well as movement and exterior components'.